Elias Shadrock's career could have gone on a far different journey after round four of this season's trans-Tasman netball league.
But one week on and it's a change of fortunes for the 21-year-old.
After potentially throwing her hopes of more court time away with a horrible pass at a crucial time against the Melbourne Vixens just over a week ago, Shadrock has fought back and is now the No1 wing defence option for the Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic, with previous incumbent Jess Tuki set to be sidelined for a month with her back injury.
Having this year played just half a quarter against the Northern Mystics in round two, then the last quarter against the Vixens, Shadrock, who had also been with the Magic in 2009 and 2010, started an ANZ Championship match for the first time against the Canterbury Tactix in Rotorua on Monday night.
She was solid in her outing, and that was evident even more so when she was brought back after only nine minutes on the bench, after her replacement Sulu Tone-Fitzpatrick failed to impress.
"It kind of caught me by surprise but you just can't go and sit on the bench and just sit down, you've got to be ready to come on whenever," Shadrock said of her reintroduction.
In terms of taking the court for the first whistle of the match, Shadrock admitted to some nerves, but was really keen to get out there. "I think I've grown over the times and I think I'm ready for that and I think I'm ready to take those steps. I've just got to put it out there and show that I can do it."
Shadrock is looking at getting her "gains up" on court, trying to get ball rather than just being out there, and also trying to be more of a presence in the face of her opposing wing attack.
She is hoping to become a more influential figure in the side's plans, but realises there are other quality players around too.
However, wing defence has never been a strong point of the Magic in recent times.
"I guess you've just got to go back to training and recover, do what you have to do to be ready to go on court and if you get the chance you've just got to keep going for it," she said.
In terms of Tuki's progress, it's not good.
She didn't kit up and get involved in the warmup on Monday night, resigned to the hoodie and track pants after being diagnosed with a slight tear in a lower disc, suffered in the match against the Vixens.
It's looking like three to four weeks before she could return.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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